Once I hit 50, I thought that my sled-riding days were well behind me. I never learned to ski, and had never been snow tubing. And then I visited Tucker, WV, and learned that there’s simply no age limit when it comes to playing in the snow.
Turns out, the only thing holding me back from trying new stuff was the fact that I’d never tried it before—which seems like a pretty stupid argument from any angle. So I put on my first pair of skis, and other than a spectacular belly flop while trying to exit the snow lift, loved every minute of my downhill experience taught by the most patient instructor ever.
Say No To Fear
I’ll admit that I was a little hesitant at first; even the ‘bunny hill’ at Timberline Four Seasons Resort, which is one of three skiing areas in West Virginia’s Canaan Valley, looked intimidating. But after practicing for a while on flat land with Don, an instructor who could convince anyone that they were Olympic champions in the making, I had channeled my inner Eddie the Eagle and was ready to hop on the ski lift. And while my exit from that lift was anything but graceful, once I had regained my feet, my first run down the Woods Hole hill was exhilarating and amazing—and definitely something that I wanted to do again. With each pass (and successful leap from the lift), I gained more confidence and skill—things that make you feel good at any point in life.
Bolstered by my success on the slopes, I decided to try snow tubing at Canaan Valley Resort. Seeing the super-fast, ice-coated course gave me pause—and the fact that almost everyone on the course was under the age of 25 was also a little daunting. But since there’s no turning back once you’re on top of the hill, I sat down on the tube and pushed off—and screamed like a lunatic the whole way down.
I cannot even begin to describe the experience, other than to say that once you do it and live, you definitely want to try it again. What’s even more fun than tubing alone is joining up with others for the ride; there’s nothing quite like flying down a hill, spinning crazily with a complete group of strangers. By the time the afternoon was done, I was so sore from laughing that I could barely stand up—and that’s something that anyone can appreciate at any age.
And if skiing and tubing isn’t enough to satisfy your inner child, I highly recommend visiting Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, WV, where you can take a ride on the longest sled run on the East Coast. There’s nothing quite like hopping on a sled and racing down more than a quarter-mile of fresh-groomed mountain snow before coming to a gentle stop—something that I could truly appreciate since my childhood sledding runs usually ended in a fast stop caused by a collision with an immovable object. What’s even better is that you can ride back up to the top of the hill on a Wonder Carpet conveyor system—something that those of us of more ‘advanced years’ certainly appreciate.
This winter, don’t let kids have all the fun! Get outside and play in the snow—you’ve got the rest of the year to be an adult.
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